Last February I had the pleasure to attend and present at the 2011 EMP Pop Conference, which for the first time in its history ventured away from EMP's home base in Seattle and moved down the coast to Los Angeles. Well, next March, March 22 through 25, 2012, to be exact, the Conference continues its road-trippin' by holding the 2012 EMP Pop Conference at NYU. Jointly sponsored in 2012 by The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU and the EMP Museum, this year's Pop Conference is also held jointly with the annual conference of the US branch of IASPM, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. This year's conference theme is "Sounds of the City," and while a related kids-music topic fitting it doesn't immediately leap to mind, I'm sure given a little time I could make it work. But even if kids music isn't represented, I wholeheartedly endorse the conference as worth your time from an attendance perspective. I think a lot of regular readers here are music geeks and therefore will really love the weekend. Registration is free for everyone. More details here. And in case you're wondering what the presentations are all about, a nearly complete list of audio recordings from 2011 conference are available for a free download here (go back and read my summary for some of my favorites), with my presentation on They Might Be Giants, Dan Zanes, and other reasons for the rise of kids' music ("Pay Me My Money Down") #32 on the list alphabetically. Also features a brief but passionate defense of Raffi, so check it out.
Regular readers know that I'm all over the map when it comes to these Monday Morning Smile posts -- they are, probably more often than not, unrelated to kids music. So I don't have much of a reason for embedding this stream of "She Walks in So Many Ways" other than I love the Jayhawks and I'm geeked that the band lineup from what most people consider the band's artistic high point of the early-to-mid-90s is back. Their new album, Mockingbird Time is out on September 20 from Rounder Records. This track sounds a lot like something that was on their last album, Rainy Day Music, but with the harmonies between Gary Louris and Mark Olson that helped give the band its distinctive sound. Sometimes you just want to listen to your own music, you know?
OK, it's not quite the brilliance that was "New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down," but this is kinda funny. While that video was an official video for the band, this video for "Dance Yrself Clean" from the soon-to-be-defunct LCD Soundsystem is unofficial, featuring the Muppets (and Cookie Monster) playing a Beatles-like gig above a Brighton storefront. I'd quibble with some of the instrumentation (really, why not have the sole female muppet taking the Nancy Whang keyboardist role), but the slow burn of the track lets the muppets do various things. Note: It doesn't reach Avenue Q levels of puppet inappropriateness, but they do go clubbing, Animal and Cookie Monster clearly have had too much to drink, and Kermit the Frog behaves rudely to Miss Piggy at the very end. So what I'm saying is: Watch it yourself before watching it with the kids. [One other note: I'm heading out to LA for the EMP Pop Conference to give my presentation, "Pay Me My Money Down: Dan Zanes, They Might Be Giants, and the (Un)Surprising Resurgence of Family Music" on Sunday at 4:15. LA folks are welcome to stop by (if there's room).] LCD Soundsystem (with Muppets) - "Dance Yrself Clean" 
It's Monday morning, and I need to smile. This video accomplished that. (I particularly adore Nataly's voice, Jack's mad percussion-ing, and this couplet: "And if you told me we were dreaming / I would pinch you to prove we're awake.") Not really for the kids, but definitely safe. Thanks, Bill Childs! Pomplamoose - "Another Day" [YouTube]
This 1978 remix of the Sesame Street classic "C Is For Classic" was apparently the first remix by New York DJ Larry Levan. From a kids music perspective, it mostly buries the melody and the vocals, so the original is mostly obscured. From a shake your (and your kids') booty perspective, totally awesome. Cookie Monster - "C Is For Cookie (Larry Levan's Funky Version Special Disco Mix)" [YouTube] (via Maura Johnston)
Justin Roberts' "Fruit Jar" (from Pop Fly) is easily in my list of Top 5 Roberts songs. And while I love love love Nora O'Connor on the original, I gotta say that Robbie Fulks is not a bad substitute. Here he is singing with Roberts at a show he did with Fulks Monday night. Mostly Fulks-related, but Roberts got in a few of his songs, too... Justin Roberts with Robbie Fulks - "Fruit Jar" (Live at the Hideout) [YouTube] But wait, there's more!